Oh, Give Me a Home Where the Bears Roam

May 30, 2013

Black bears are making a comeback in Nevada. WCS’s Jon Beckmann, conservation Scientist for the North America Program, urges that hunters and ranchers, the agricultural community, and environmentalists must determine together how we manage and live with these and other recovering populations of large carnivores.

In the original poem-turned-song Home on the Range, Dr. Brewster Higley affectionately recalled building his Kansas cabin in a place he shared with buffalo, deer, and antelope. Notably absent from his poem are the other species of large mega-fauna that at one time called his region home, including grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, and mountain lions.

When Dr. Higley wrote his popular ballad in the late 1800s, most of these species were gone, and by the early 1900s species such as grizzly bears and wolves were absent from more than 90 percent of their original range. However, over the last 40-50 years large carnivores have slowly begun to reclaim both their range and their numbers in the United States and across North America.

This recovery is a conservation success for these species, but it presents new challenges for people living with them, particularly in many western states.
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